EW praises Return of the King!

Discussion in 'Community' started by ColoJohnBoy, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. ColoJohnBoy macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

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    #1
    Lisa Scwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, a critic usually disdainful of mainstream fare, reviewed The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, awarding an "A", the highest mark the magazine offers. I've included the link to the review below, but you have to either subscribe to EW or be a member of AOL, so I've also included the full review. Happy reading!

    EW Review

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    By Lisa Schwarzbaum

    All hail The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King! I can't think of another film trilogy that ends in such glory, or another monumental work of sustained storytelling that surges ahead with so much inventiveness and ardor. The conclusion of Peter Jackson's masterwork is passionate and literate, detailed and expansive, and it's conceived with a risk-taking flair for old-fashioned movie magic at its most precious, a rarity now that CGI prowess has fallen into the hands of run-of-the-mill studio ring-chasers.


    And now that I have your attention, here's why, specifically, the concluding episode of this fantasy epic is so good.


    • The narrative soars, sweeping us up exactly where we were deposited at the end of ''The Two Towers,'' with confidence that if we've come this far, we're willing to follow without need of a remedial recap. As its title suggests, the times are climactic as the J.R.R. Tolkien saga resumes: The Ring-toting Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his devoted hobbit friend Sam (Sean Astin) are picking their way toward Mount Doom with the help/hindrance of the tormented Gollum (Andy Serkis + digital sorcery). The various constituencies of Middle-earth -- including the men of Rohan and their king Théoden (Bernard Hill), the Ranger-with-potential Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), the archer-elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and the hearty dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) -- are plucking up courage, at the urging of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), to take a desperate stand against the monstrous orcs who fight on behalf of the evil Sauron. And very human emotions of fear, despair, madness, sorrow, rage, distrust, defiance, and hope are playing out against an onslaught of fantastical monsters of discord. ''The Return of the King'' begins in midair, and never loses loft.


    • The characters deepen. Perhaps because the actors themselves have spent so much time in the skins (real or, in the case of the amazing creation Gollum, computer-generated) of their Middle-earth counterparts, shadings and subtleties of personality emerge that refresh our love of these fairy-tale players.


    Dashing leaders Aragorn and Théoden become more soulful. The squabbly partnership between Legolas and Gimli softens. Théoden's niece, Éowyn (Miranda Otto), discovers reserves of battlefield bravery. Backbench hobbits Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan) have some nice moments as stand-ins for the kind of unspectacular folks most of us in the audience are. And most profoundly of all, the balance of heroism shifts between Frodo and Sam -- the hobbit with greatness thrust on him, and the theoretically less remarkable, decent hobbit by his side -- so that in an accretion of revelatory acts, we realize that it's Sam whose saga this really is. Wood is a marvelously human-style study in second thoughts; Astin is, quite simply, the average Joe star of the show.


    • The discipline of the production never falters. The battle scenes are stupendous, as one would expect or hope: Flapping dragonlike beasts, stomping elephantine-via-''Star Wars'' behemoths, and a nightmare giant of a spider do their worst, and 200,000 orcs assemble for an attack. But Jackson puts each creature and each stirring speech there for a reason. (He doesn't linger, either, when a smoldering look will do, whether between Mortensen and Liv Tyler as Aragorn's beloved Arwen, or between Gandalf and the heavens.) And as he has done throughout, the director paces scenes of action, intimacy, and even panoramic, geographical grandeur (as when the fires blaze in sequence on mountain peaks, alerting the populace that the time of battle has arrived) with the control of a superb choreographer.


    • The stakes matter. I'm certain that henceforth in its long life ahead as a great movie classic, the entire ''Lord of the Rings'' trilogy will pick up the vibrations of whatever unease, instability, and longing are in the air -- of enemy threatening enemy, neighbor fearing neighbor, alliances forming and dissolving as alliances do in this real world. Perhaps the meaning of it will change as future audiences translate the parable to suit future times. The point is, it's impossible to watch ''The Return of the King,'' or to listen to the delicate passages and ringing declarations shaped by screenwriters Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Jackson from Tolkien's text, without also feeling that real world pressing in. And that's a triumph, first of Tolkien's relevance, and second of this production's valor in holding so inventively true to the author's vision.
     
  2. Foucault macrumors 6502

    Foucault

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    #2
    Wow!!! I can't wait to see it... I just saw the special edition The Two Towers and there were a lot of wonderfully poignant scenes that were cut out from the theatrical release.
     
  3. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

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    #3
    Ya know at this point no one in their right mind would trash ROTK for fear of being burned at the stake. This thing has enough momentum that even superman wouldn't have a chance in heck of stopping.
    IMHO the Oscar for best picture is going to be between Return of the King, The Last Samurai, and Master and Commander (Then again I have yet to see M&C so who knows, Krowe has been on a major streak for the last few years so *shrugs*)


    PS- Last I heard Jackson's next project deals with some little known movie of an ape climbing a building. Nothing big. ;)
     
  4. agreenster macrumors 68000

    agreenster

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    #4
    Man, I am such LOTR fan (since the movies came out, now I'm reading the books, a bit ass-backward, but oh well) and cant wait for ROTK!

    Seeing it Christmas Day!
     
  5. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

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    #5
    It's odd though, I haven't seen as many trailers or previews on the television as in recent years when the first two were released. In fact I didn't even know the release date until a friend had told me.
     
  6. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a

    trebblekicked

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    #6
    i don't think it needed much advertising. once people hear it's out, they'll go see it.

    jackson really did an amazing job with these movies. he deserves a nod for best director. and, who knows? the fact that the movies haven't had as much oscar success as you'd expect could sway those "even-up" votes (like pacino for scent of a woman, for example) ROTK's way.
     
  7. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

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    #7
    True, but to be honest for every trailer I "thought" I saw, it ended up being the a commercial for the PS2 game.
     
  8. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

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    #8
    my thought was that all the voters knew that there'd be 2 more, then 1 more... that they pretty much figured they'd wait for the last one and then give it a nod...

    for a director to have all this story... 9+ hours of finished film. to have it all come together, especially with the massive massive ("massive" is a fitting word here...) amount of special effects in the films... for a director to take it all and wrap it all together so well is amazing. for that alone he deserves at least one oscar.

    i'd be pretty disappointed if they don't clean up the awards this time around.

    can't wait to see this one. going next saturday.
     
  9. Maclarny macrumors 6502

    Maclarny

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    #9
    I saw Master and Commander and it was good but not good enough, in my opinion, to be a Gladiator. I haven't seen the Last Samurai but if the major best picture Oscar contenders will be action films then ROTK has already destroyed the competition.
     
  10. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    #10
    I didn't really dig the whole 'fantasy' genre until I saw the Fellowship...

    Now I am hooked. I've read the books, bought the movies, and am looking for 3 movie posters (one for each). The two towers EXTENDED edition is far and away the best movie I've ever seen, period.

    The reason these films are so captivating and believable is the absence of any "A list" stars. Not to say that the actors aren't talented, but these films are better because I'm not constantly thinking about how I saw this or that star on TV and in magazines.

    My only complaint is..... Where in the hell is Tom Bombadill????

    My only question is...... Is Jackson going to make the Hobbitt????
     
  11. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a

    trebblekicked

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    #11
    my thoughts exactly. on top of that, he did it all to a sacred piece of geek-dom. the geek outcry against these films was almost nonexistant. he did right by them and by people like me (who never read the book). it's not really a stretch to say it's one of the better directing jobs of our generation.
     
  12. pivo6 macrumors 68000

    pivo6

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    #12
    I completely agree. Also I love the fact that he documented just about everything to do with the movie, which can be seen in the special edition DVD's.
     
  13. topicolo macrumors 68000

    topicolo

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    #13
    Tom Bombadill--He actually added absolutely NOTHING to the plot of the story. Leaving in the incident with the tree and the night at Bombadill would've bored most people out of their minds.

    The Hobbit-- Judging from the astounding success the trilogy has been so far, I seriously doubt New Line Cinema would pass on another guaranteed blockbuster
     
  14. agreenster macrumors 68000

    agreenster

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    #14
    In my opinion, there is no need to revisit the Hobbitt (as a film). It essentially is nothing more than a charming backstroy, that Tolkein wrote twice (once before LOTR, and once afterward because he needed to fix some plot things, and make Gollum less sinister and more pitiful.) In my opinion, the Hobbitt was only a catapult for Tolkein to write LOTR.

    Jackson is doing King Kong next, and I doubt Middle Earth will ever again be portrayed on film by him. I think he's done enough! The three movies are probably some of the best film work ever done to this point in history.
     
  15. Angelus macrumors 6502

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    I'm going to see Return of the king this saturday with my friends. It is going to be such a cool day! The lads are all coming over to my place at about 10/11 am saturday morning and we are going to watch the extended editions of The Fellowship of the Ring and of The Two Towers back to back(There may be a brief intermission :) ) and then afterwards we'll head off to see Return of the King.
     
  16. Steradian macrumors 6502

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    #16
    he is in the first one extended edition, and personally I think he complements the films nicely. My only real complaint about any of them is the time scale, most people think that it only took days to get to rivendale, and from there to Rohan etc.
     
  17. agreenster macrumors 68000

    agreenster

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    #17
    Yeah, wasn't Frodo's journey supposed to span over something like 4 years?

    I cant remember.
     
  18. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #18
    No he isn't. You must be thinking of someone else.
     
  19. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #19
    He wants to, after he's made King Kong, but Christopher Tolkien doesn't want him to.
     

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